As a Nutrition Counselor, I spend a lot of time in grocery stores.
I actually really enjoy grocery shopping.
In fact, if I won the lottery, I think buying delicious food would be one of the first things on my list. Can you imagine going to the grocery store and having UNLIMITED money to spend on all of the food that you want?
Well, I can imagine…but for me, and probably most of you, that’s not the reality.
I love grocery shopping for healthy, nourishing foods and delicious treats. And it true that the healthy food often costs more than the delicious treats, but there are ways that you can eat healthy nourishing foods within your budget while shopping at ANY grocery store– not just the high profile natural grocers out there. Really.
Making healthy choices within your budget might involve shifting your priorities a bit, and maybe thinking about food and planning a little more. Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tools out there to make it easier for you…and even MORE fun. Seriously.
Here are 5 Tips to Shop for Healthy Nourishing Foods With Your Budget:
Shift Your Food Focus
When you first started eating more high quality whole foods, I’m sure that your grocery bill went up a bit. It’s true that organic produce costs more than conventional produce. With organic produce, you pay for the process and the sustainable practices of the farm when you buy it, and to me, it’s definitely worth buying some foods organic–and this is where I spend a good portion of my grocery budget.
When you start eating more whole foods and following a Paleo diet, the goal is to decrease the amount of packaged, processed & refined foods that you’re eating. These packaged, processed and refined foods probably take up a good portion of your food budget. When you shift your focus to more whole foods, you’ll gradually start buying less of the packaged foods. Thus, you’ll have more of your budget to devote to buying those high quality whole foods.
Download a Coupon App
Coupons are where it’s at. Seriously. There are sales and offers ALL the time at every grocery store. Some stores, like Star Market, make it SUPER easy for you to save money on high quality groceries by offering free coupon apps.
Plan Your Week
Take sometime over the weekend to think about the week ahead. How often will you be cooking at home? How often will be you eating at a restaurant? What big events do you have going on this week that you’ll need to have some snacks for? Taking more time to think and prepare for the week will allow you to be in more control of your food choices– you’ll be able to go shopping and prepare rather than having the grab something to eat while you’re out. Think packing your lunch and snacks rather than buying them from the cafe. Grabbing food while you’re out is usually more expensive than bringing your own.
Make a Pantry Staples List
Make a list of all of the foods that you eat every week. They don’t have to be your traditional “pantry” staples (like rice and beans)– they can be anything that you eat on a weekly basis. Pantry staples are foods that you like to pack for lunches, snacks and ingredients that you often use when cooking meals.
Here is a peek at my pantry staples:
Lots of organic fruits and veggies.
Each week, I make a special shopping trip for these foods (using my trusty coupons) so that I can always put together a meal with what’s in my fridge.
Have some Go-To Meals Up Your Sleeve
Although I usually know what nights of the week I’ll be cooking dinner, I often don’t know what I’m going to cook until that day– I like to have most of the ingredients at home already so that I only need to pick up one or two things from the store.
I have a few Go-To meals that I can pull from my pantry staples. One of my favorites is Paleo Massaman Curry. Sometimes I use red curry paste or green curry paste to mix it up a bit or change the veggies or protein.
These are just a few ways that you can shop for healthy, nourishing foods within your budget. Taking more time to think about your week, and using coupons are just a few of those ways.